How Can I help?

Quitting smoking is one of the toughest things a person can do. Keeping this in mind will help you be understanding to those facing the prospect of quitting. Supporting someone you care about that uses commercial tobacco can make the difference for them and their effort to quit. Now, lets see how we might go about helping someone without making it more difficult for them.

  1. Avoid criticism– in the interest of being helpful we might take the approach of “tough love”. Please remember, guilt and criticism is a non-motivator. Your loved one needs to feel safe and secure with you. Avoiding criticism will help with that.
  2. Allow “smoker” to make the decision to quit.– If a person is not ready to quit, nothing you do or say will change their mind. No amount of nagging, complaining or pressuring will help you loved one attain the goal of quitting. In fact, it will only make it harder to quit when he or she is ready.
  3. Be flexible and understanding– If someone you love is thinking about quitting or is ready to quit you might simply ask ” How can I help?”. Why is this so powerful? because everyone’s needs are different. by asking this simple question it will give you insight as to how you can best support them in their endeavor to quit. Showing personal interest goes a long way in building a trusting and supportive environment.
  4. Be patient– Overcoming a physical addiction can cause mood swings. Don’t take them personally, mood swings pass within a few days. Perhaps, you need a break? That’s okay, your friend may even prefer to be alone during these moments.
  5. Be available– Cravings for a cigarette are very strong and challenging for  someone trying to quit. Having someone they trust to call during these difficult moments can make all the difference for someone trying to quit.
  6. Be encouraging– Look for ways to be encouraging. Showing a sincere interest in someone’s efforts to quit can go a long way! Show particular interest during the first few days, since this can be the most difficult time for someone trying to quit.
  7. Non-smoking activities– Avoid taking your loved one to places they usually enjoy smoking. Places like bars and parties may need to be avoided since the temptation to smoke will be far greater. Remember not only is tobacco physically addicting but emotionally addicting too! Taking someone trying to quit to place they usually smoke can make the desire to smoke overwhelming. Instead, take a walk together, play basketball. Going to places where smoking is not allowed, like Museums, indoor malls or a movie theater.
  8. I smoke too!– consider quitting too. You can support each other. If your not ready to quit yet, at the very least don’t smoke around the person that is trying to quit.
  9. Get ready for slip ups– It can take several tries to actually 100% quit smoking. Be supportive of effort up to that point and don’t focus on the set back, emphasize the positive. Our loved one is already feeling guilty and kicking themselves for giving in to the addiction.
  10. Stay supportive– One man that successfully quit smoking at 70 years of age commented ” I have no desire to smoke, however, even though it has been a few years I still habitually reach for my smokes after a good meal. I only smoked for 40 years!”  he laughs.